You can plant Zoysia grass from either traditional grass seed, sod, or grass plugs. Zoysia grass grows relatively slowly, so planting sod or plugs is more common than planting zoysia grass seed. Here are some tips on how to plant and maintain this versatile grass.
Planting Zoysia Grass Seed
Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass, so the ideal time to plant Zoysia grass seed is during the late spring after the cold months have subsided. Zoysia seed should not be planted after the late fall because it cannot retain the moisture it needs to grow in the winter months.
To seed a Zoysia lawn:
- Loosen up the top 1-2 inches of soil with a tiller.
- If you have a soil testing kit, test your soil to ensure its ph levels are between 5.8-6.5.
- Apply a layer of nitrogen-rich fertilizer and mix the tilled soil and fertilizer evenly.
Next, sow the grass seed in an even layer according to the recommended seeding rates on the package. You can use either a drop or broadcast seeder. Rake the seed into the soil afterward and make sure it is evenly mixed. Zoysia seed needs sunlight to grow well, so it should be placed in an area that gets a lot of light throughout the year.
Initially, you may need to water up to 3 times a day, especially during the height of the warmer months. Once the grass has reached about 2-3 inches tall, you can resume your regular maintenance routine.
Planting Zoysia Grass Sod
Planting Zoysia grass sod is normally the recommended option as the seed grows slowly. Before laying down sod pallets, till the top 1-2 inches of soil and mix with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. You should also make sure that you remove any existing weeds from the soil.
Starting at the longest edge of your lawn, place the Zoysia sod pallets and unroll them. Cut the remaining pallets in half and stagger the placement of sod seams, like you would when laying a brick wall. When laying the sod pallets, make sure that the seams are as close as possible and that the edges do not overlap. Leaving gaps in the seams can cause the edges to dry out.
Once you have the sod pallets laid down, using either a roller or your hands, firmly press the sod into the dirt on the bottom. Make sure that you smooth out any ridges and get rid of any air bubbles. Once the layers have been pressed, apply 1-2 inches of water immediately.
For the next 2 weeks, try to water your lawn at least once a day, preferably in the morning. After 2-4 weeks, your grass should have taken root, and you can reduce watering to ½” every 2 days for the next week. After that, reduce watering to ½” about once a week. Try to adjust your watering schedule in response to rain and drought conditions. If puddles form on your lawn, then you are overwatering.
Planting Zoysia Grass Plugs
You can also opt to install Zoysia plugs. They fall in between manual seeding and laying sod in terms of cost and labor.
Before planting the plugs, dethatch and prepare the solid where you want to place them. You can also add a layer of fertilizer where you want to install the plugs. Next, using a plug drill bit, create the holes, and install the Zoysia grass plugs. Space the plugs about 1 foot apart.
After the grass plugs have been installed, continue to water them daily for the next two weeks. Once the grass blades have reached 2 inches tall, you can mow them for the first time. Make sure you remove any grass clippings from this first mowing session as too much thatch can impede grass growth.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass, so it tends to grow best in places that have a hot climate and receive a lot of sunlight. When seeding your lawn, make sure that your lawn receives adequate sunlight throughout the year. Planting Zoysia seed in a shaded lawn can impede its growth.
Zoysia grass should also be planted about 1 month before its prime growing season in the summer. You should not plant Zoysia seed in the late fall as it will not grow well during the winter months. The grass will not have enough time to establish itself before the cold of the winter.